It’s a Catch 22: while we have more technology tools than ever before to help us be more productive and stay organized, we’re drowning in the fact that there are simply too many tools to learn to use effectively. So, in an effort to save you the trouble of trying out all the organization tools out there (as if that were even possible!) here’s a list of some of the most efficient tools for small businesses.
Being a small business is no excuse to skimp on customer service. With Zendesk, you get dedicated customer service reps who communicate on your behalf with customers through email, chat, phone or social media.
The Details: Zendesk plans start as low as $5 per agent per month.
2. Clockwork Tomato
If you have trouble managing your time, you need to download the Clockwork Tomato app. With it, you can break down work into 25-minute increments so you stay focused on doing one thing at a time.
The Details: This app is currently available for Android only, and is free.
Stop wasting time trying to remember login passwords. With LastPass, you save your passwords, contact info, and credit card details and never have to remember them again. The bonus? You can use it in any browser, as well as on mobile devices.
The Details: There are plugins for every web browser, as well as a mobile app for Apple, Android, Blackberry, and Windows devices. The basic account (which is plenty) is free, and then premium accounts with more features start at $12 a year.
When you hire someone in your small business, you want assurance that they’re a good fit. Running a background check can help you determine who not to hire, and with Intelius, getting them is easy. There’s also a detailed caller ID application that provides lots of information on the person calling you.
The Details: Some features are free, then Premium services are $19.95 a month. The Android and Apple apps are free.
5. Sprout Social
Staying on top of all your social media accounts is challenging for any small business owner. Logging in to each site is time-consuming, as is scheduling updates. Sprout Social is a one-stop place to schedule all your different social media accounts, as well as get data-rich reports on how your tweets and status updates are doing in helping you reach your audience.
The Details: The Deluxe account is $59 per user per month, and lets you manage up to 10 social accounts.
6. Insightly CRM
Managing customer information, like what they ordered, their email communications, and which email lists they signed up for is essential to help you better market to them. If you’re still putting that info in a spreadsheet (or relying on it being in your head), you’re not doing yourself any favors. Insightly CRM not only helps you manage customer relationships, but it also has project management features, file sharing, and reports.
The Details: The basic account is free for up to 2 users, then plans start at $12/user per month.
Sometimes you need to scan a document and aren’t near a scanner. In that case, turn your phone into a scanner with Scanbot. In addition to being able to scan any kind of document and save as a PDF or jpg, you can also use it to scan QR codes.
The Details: It’s available as an app in the iTunes, Android, and Amazon marketplaces, and it’s free.
If you find yourself typing the same text over and over, or hunting for copy in a document to paste elsewhere, you’ll love TextExpander. With it, create custom keyboard shortcuts to save time and be more efficient.
The Details: It’s available only for Mac ($44.95) and iPhones and iPads ($4.99).
Using the tools that make you your most productive is essential for the sanity and success of any business owner! What are your favorite tools? Let us know in the comments.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at email@example.com.